Reptition has been Yak’s mantra since they started. On January’s debut single ‘Hungry Heart’, frontman Oli Burslem barked “again, again, again” over and over, while bassist Andy Jones and drummer Elliot Rawson bashed out furious loop-the-loops on their instruments. New EP ‘No’, released on Jack White’s Third Man label and produced by Pulp’s Steve Mackey, keeps to that same path.
That doesn’t mean to say Yak’s latest is boring, though – far from it. The London-based trio use repetition as a foundation from which to fly off on mad tangents rather than keep things safe and predictable. The title track has Burslem shouting its name and venomously sneering lines like “You’re out of the woods/You see no danger”, coercing braying, manic notes from his guitar all the while. In the background, organ keys slam like a horror movie soundtrack. It’s urgent and agitated; a pounding opener to make your blood rush at lightning speed.
The EP grows calmer from that point onwards, but never dips in tension. ‘Alas Salvation’ is a one minute 13 seconds scorcher that flits from pummelling guitar and drums towards spoken word, as Burslem cryptically riddles “Gilded lily, nest of vipers/Never ever did invite us”. It’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fast, but packed with energy and intrigue.
Previous releases have seen Yak dabble in their softer side. The B-side to ‘Hungry Heart’ was a woozy cover of Cherokee blues singer Karen Dalton’s ‘Something On Your Mind’, and May’s ‘Plastic People’ EP finished on the languid ‘Distortion’. ‘Out On A Limb’ is this release’s melancholy moment, all shuffling drums, meandering bass and gently strummed guitars. Burslem whispers “I came to love, I came to score” over the top. Midway through, though, guitar and bass crunch together, lifting towards a stormy climax as Burslem howls “True beauty lies” until everything grinds to a sudden halt. Afterwards, you’re left winded after another thrilling showcase of Yak’s love of repetition.
- Director: Steve Mackey
- Record label: Third Man
- Release date: 06 Nov, 2015